Knowing When to Give Up: 4 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Career (and What to Do About Them)
This post first appeared on Career Attraction, advice from experts that gets results.
It’s surprising to hear just how many people openly say they dislike their job, whether it’s because of the people they’re working with, the duties involved or the fulfilment they get from it on a day-to-day basis.
Does this sound like you or someone you know? Is every morning a chore, with the nights only providing a brief intermission before the next day seeps more of your soul away? There’s no two ways about it: you may need to give up. This isn’t a bad reflection on you — on the contrary, it takes courage to push yourself out of autopilot and accept that you need this change.
So, how do you know when to give up?
1. You’re Chronically Exhausted
If you’re experiencing exhaustion or any stress-related illness, you should probably already be looking at whether your job is right for you. When most of your time is spent working, or resting in an effort to be fresh for work, you get very little chance to escape the cycle.
Your body is trying to tell you what you mind will not accept: it’s time for a career change. It could be that a specific part of your job or a particular coworker is having this effect on you, but it’s often the sum of your circumstances that need shifting.
2. Your Work Isn’t “You”
You can be very good at something and yet detest every moment you spend doing it. If your job requires you to have responsibilities you aren’t comfortable with, or you need to use skills that make you feel ill at ease, then it could be worth looking at fields that don’t involve these things.
3. Your Salary Can’t Compensate for Your Unhappiness
Perhaps you’ve been saying you would leave the job that’s making you so unhappy if it wasn’t for the money it pays. Yes, it’s important to have an income you can live on, but above that, you need to think about whether another career could make you so happy the disposable income no longer matters.
I always think of the parable of the fisherman and the businessman that a colleague told me about; if you’re only thinking about money for the sake of money, it might be time to think about things for the sake of happiness instead.
4. You Feel Your Time and Talents Are Being Wasted
If you find yourself sitting at your desk, staring at a computer screen and thinking, “there’s got to be more than this,” then without a doubt, there is more for you. I remember hearing about a fairly high up and well-respected consultant who left his job in the city and went to work in a zoo. This might not be the change for you, but he maintained that it was for him. While all of his friends feared he was having a midlife crisis, he simply organized his priorities and sought out a job that made him feel like he was having more of an impact.
“OK, This Sounds Like Me. What Should I Do?”
1. Pinpoint What’s Wrong
First, ask yourself why you want this change. If you’re only unhappy at work because of a fellow employee or your boss, then you might want to look at new positions in similar departments or companies.
Be clear about what you want to change. This will stop you from slipping from the unhappy frying pan into the depressing fire. Don’t be scared or disheartened by the search for your new career; these things can take time, so try to stay positive.
2. Determine If You Need New Skills
A complete change isn’t always sensible or even possible, so think about roles or jobs where you can use the knowledge and skills you already possess.
A sideways move can often help the situation. If this isn’t an option, if you know what your dream move would be, perhaps it’s time to go part-time at work and study to build up a new skill base in your free time.
3. Assess Your Core Values
It can be extremely uncomfortable to practice something that goes against your beliefs, even if they’re not particularly strongly held. If you work in the fast-paced commercial sector, moving to a country farm may be too much of a shock to your system. Be very clear and honest with yourself about what it is that’s making you unhappy at work, and this will lead the way into solving the other problems.
4. Take a Dive
It can be scary, but if you have sufficient savings to support you and your dependents, then make the change! There is never a perfect time, so don’t kid yourself by waiting for one. Get your affairs in order, try to develop a plan B and then do it!